Monday, November 30, 2009

Home Truths For New Wigs By Adesina Ogunlana

When two or three new wigs gather, there complaint is! Oh my God, can new wigs complain? Before getting employed, they complain about the dearth of jobs. After employment, they complain about, well about everything.
It is either the office is too far, or the job is too tedious. Of course there is the perennial complaint about poor salaries. There is the grouse against the “tyranny” of principal counsel and the oppression by the judge/magistrate.
In the event, the average Mr. or Miss New Wig is invariably a grossly dissatisfied individual who often feels cheated and exploited by his employer, thus always out to hop on to greener pastures, all the time or at least almost all the time.
However the more likely truth is that the new wig’s greatest enemy is, oft times himself. A multiple combination of character failings render many new wigs unsuitable for the tasking field of legal practice.

Below are some of these faults.
A typical new-wig is a firm believer in the dreamer’s axiom of “Little Work, Great profit.” Unfortunately legal practice thrives on a different parameter of remuneration which is “Great Industry, Great Success” and conversely “Little Industry, Little Success.”
A typical successful lawyer is a busy bee - always reading, always consulting, always counseling, perpetually preparing.
Working long hours is the norm in his field, partly because the field of law is vast and partly because at any time, the advocates faces two barriers, the judge and the opposing counsel. Nobody scales over double barriers, with a casual leap.
But what does our “Just-called-to-the-Bar fellow want? He wants to have a life of pleasure, comfort and relaxation, of breaking very little sweat.
To such fellows, poring over case-files is a pain, studying law reports and researching authorities, a horror, not to talk of drafting and re-drafting processes, a high crime.
What our new wig wants is to spend a few hours in chambers reading soft-sell magazines or leafing through one or two documents before checking out for break and after another hour or so, close for the day. If he goes to court, he hopes to be out of the premises of the court-house before 11.00am.
And as their ilk argue, “Too much stress spoil fine boy!”
The lazy new wig cannot bear working on in the office beyond 6.00pm. And except the sun rises in the west and the moon turns pink, he will never be in the chambers on a Saturday.
Work for weekend? Tu fiaka! Am I a slave? Mr. Jelenke lawyer queries and even further-“How much are they paying me sef?”
No senior counsel employs a junior in the hope of nursing a liability. The junior is expected to add value to the chamber, and a continuous asset for that matter.
Clearly a lazy bone junior is no way an asset to his employer’s chambers. Rather he is a liability and in some situations, worse than a curse. My advice to lazy bone junior lawyer is to set up shop themselves, where they’ll be masters and mistresses of their own and even more important, take things easy. When that happens, water, as they say will quickly finds its level.

Good effective lawyers, especially advocates do not share beddings with fear or any of its variants, like shyness, self-effacement, false humility and timidity.
On the contrary they are bold, and active. They are goal getters, determined to see things through, no matter the odds or challenges.
This, of course is the attitude of champions and winners. The virtue of having self-confident is the platform they use to launch themselves into the actulisation of their goals.
Unfortunately quite a few of new-wigs are not only worms, they are content to remain worms, forever or so it seems.
These types are the one who has a regular song on their lips. The song is short and simple- “I can’t do it? For example when the Principal passes on a case file to the worm-wig, to study and draft for a motion, the w-w opens his eyes in alarm, then belts out his song in a mean- “I can’t do it sir”
When the principal says for the w-w to prepare for a trial which he conduct at the magistrate court, the w-w’s heart palpitates, before singing- “I can’t do it sir.
Of course the w-w loves to go to the High Court and other superior courts-but only as a tourist or a spectator or at best a lawyer’s companion whose job does not exceed carrying bags and files, taking notes, fetching authorities for the lead counsel.
The w-w is sorely afraid that he may be left alone in the court, by his senior or principal, since he believes he is too ‘small’ to stand up in court and address the judge.
So he ensures that he keeps a close watch on his lead counsel. And some have been known to go to the extent of welding their gowns to their leaders’ by way of super-glue. So that, it become a matter of “where ever you go sir, I go”
To all intents and purposes then, the w-w is merely a piece of decoration in the Chambers of his employer.
Little wonder, they do not last-only a mad employer will continue to pay for a non-productive member of staff.
Nobody is called to the Nigerian Bar of the Supreme Court as a barrister and solicitor, only to become, and even worse, remain a worm.
For the bar is too hot, too rough for any worm to find it a happy habitat. Thus the new wig, has no option, should be hope to be a useful barrister, other than to shed all fears and apprehensions and face his work with courage.
Somebody should tell the new wig that:-
(a) You are no worm, if you are, you won’t even pass your varsity examinations and graduate from the Law School.
(b) The court-room is not a shark infested ocean, waiting only two eagerly to have you for lunch
(c) Judges are no two-headed dragons, who devour new wigs.
(d) There is no crime in making mistakes-the real crime is not even trying to do anything at all or take any step for fair of failing.
(e) You too one day can will become as good and even better than those “old wigs”, you admire as “super-lawyers”. You may not realise it but the truth is that they were once green-horns like you too!
But you have to get started! Stop singing that your one and only line- “I can’t do it”. For, you can actually do it.